October’s – ‘The Bravery Issue’ – Download Now

“Bravery is embracing your fears but not forgetting to stay kind and empathetic on the way,” Liya Goglidze, designer and co-founder of her namesake fashion brand LIYA. In just three years since launching, the Georgia-based label has carved its own brave identity, refusing to put their designs, nor their customers, in a specific box.

The brand has stuck to a clear mantra: “A strong belief in individuality and love for one’s individual presence is the driving force behind LIYA.” Goglidze’s designs fuse the function women seek in everyday wear, with a contemporary feminine edge.

As for how it all began, the LIYA brand was born from a childrenswear label Goglidze founded in 2014 called InkyGold. “It was a very interesting area to work in, much different from womenswear and absolutely challenging in many ways,” Goglidze tells Emirates Woman. “We received many requests to develop the same styles for mothers, mother-daughter looks and from there it all evolved further – the development of womenswear was a natural continuation.” While it was a natural continuation for the brand, it was with the help Goglidze’s co-founder, Anna Mchedlishvili, that her dream became a reality. “It takes more than one person to build a vision,” the LIYA designer admits. “She navigated and turned all my sketches into reality.” To be able to introduce LIYA to international fashion figures, the co-founders launched the brand on the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week stage in Tbilisi, which was only established two years prior to their launch.

Since then LIYA has grown the brand both in terms of design and execution. Partnering with global luxury e-commerce platforms including LuisaViaRoma and Farfetch, as well as notable brick & mortar stores such as Harvey Nichols and Printemps. It’s a milestone that Goglidze is honoured by. “It is always exciting to see key e-commerce sites being interested in your brand,” she says. In fact, it’s what drives her to do more with the brand and to be bolder in her choices. “It definitely motivates us to move forward and be braver with what we do,” she says. Discussing being approached by LuisaViaRoma for Fall/Winter 19/20, Goglidze admits it was completely out of the blue. “They saw our designs in a showroom in Paris and instantly took the collection,” she says. “It was very unexpected and extremely exciting!”

Not only is LIYA a brand that is one to watch closely, Goglidze is also proud to fly the flag for her country and takes pride in how e-commerce giants are taking notice of the region as a whole. “We are very happy and proud that such a small country has so much talent represented worldwide,” she says. It was actually the spirit and supporting nature of her home country that gave her the courage to launch LIYA. Goglidze was born in Georgia, but grew up in Moscow and Vienna and studied in Florence and Milan, it was only when she returned to Tbilisi that she gained the nerve to launch herself on the international fashion scene. “It was a dream that was in the back of my mind for a long time. Moving to Georgia and the whole creative atmosphere and support system helped me and made me brave enough to launch the brand,” she tells Emirates Woman.

Through this support system, Goglidze has found the strength to stay true to her vision and craft – individual identity. Instead, she puts the onus of the brand’s definition to her peers and customers. “I do not try to define the styles of the brand in a particular way,” she says. “I like to hear what and how others define it for themselves. I hope that each and everyone has their own vision of LIYA unique to them.” In doing so, LIYA has gained the attention of many celebrities and even royals such as Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan. It’s been a constant learning curve for Goglidze and her team, who admits the brand began in a very “complicated way”. In the initial stages, the fashion designer found it difficult to prove she was, in fact, capable of producing a quality brand. However, by building a loyal team, learning and understanding their mistakes and coming by reliable partners, LIYA is stronger than ever. It’s a testament to what staying true to your vision and having the strength not to stray from that can do. As Goglidze says confidently, “Right now we know where we stand as a brand, we know our customers and our place in this industry.”

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